EVANSVILLE, Ind.- The Belmont University men's soccer team (1-2-0) was unable to overcome an early goal by its opponent, as it battled all night long but ultimately fell 1-0 to the Drake Bulldogs Friday night in Evansville, Ind.
Drake struck early on in the match when forward Alec Bartlett found the back of the net in the 5th minute. Teammate Ben LeMay played a cross into the box where Bartlett corralled the pass and pushed it past Belmont's Grayson Rector (Peachtree City, Ga.) and into the lower left corner of the goal.
In 89th minute in what was the Bruins final shot at an equalizer, Matt Lopoyda (Niagara Falls, Ont.) played a setpiece into the box but Dennis Kluba's (St. Louis, Mo.) shot was denied by Drake's Darrin MacLeod who dove to make the save.
The Bruins and Bulldogs played a very even match as Belmont finished with eight shots compared to Drake's 10. DU held the edge in terms of cornerkicks at five to four. Many of Drake's shot attempts came in the mid-to-late second half when Belmont was forced to become more aggressive on the offensive side of the pitch.
The Bruins seemed to get into more of a rhythm in their attacking third as time went by in the first half. One of the Bruins' best chances at a first half tally came late, when in the 41st minute Nat Hubert's (ChichDraester, England) header was saved by Drake's Darrin MacLeod. The play began with an excellent ball played up field by defender Anthony Torres (Batavia, Ill.) who found teammate Ryan Tapley (Pelham, Ala.) streaking up the field. Tapley received the pass and advanced down the right side of the pitch, eventually lofting the ball up to Hubert who was unable to best the Drake keeper.
Belmont and Drake each compiled five shot attempts, while the Bruins had three shots on goal to Drake two in the first stanza.
Lopoyda, the freshman, finished with a pair of shots on goal.
While the Bruins picked up the loss, they turned in a strong 90 minutes of play and look to get back to their winning ways in their next match after a short turnaround. Belmont returns to action Sunday, Sept. 6, when it takes the pitch against tournament host, Evansville for a 2 p.m. Central time tilt at Arad McCutchan Stadium.